It is important to work every muscle from every possible angle, so here’s some insight into the grip positions for chest pressing exercises.
Target: Major Pectorals
Benefit: More ROM for Major Pectorals & Anterior Deltoids
This is the most common hand position for chest presses. The depth that it allows you to reach enables you to stretch the pectoral muscles more at the bottom part of the movement. It should be noted that flyes are usually the best choice for range or motion when training chest.
Target: Pectorals Minor & Triceps
Benefit: Less strain on shoulders
Pectorals Minor is a tiny muscle that lives in the middle of the major pecs. It’s main purpose is to stabilise the scaplae during pressing movements. The hammer grip will put more emphasis on this, but will still involve major pecs a great deal. The increased stabilisation of the shoulder means more emphasis on chest. You would think that this would mean that you could push more weight in this position. Unfortunately that is not the case! Shoulders play a big part in pressing, so if you’re looking to go heavier try the false grip (below).
All around the best choice for upper pectorals. Even on a flat bench upper pecs will still be forced to work harder. I also strongly recommend this press if you are looking to build size in the triceps. Supine grip will make the inner head of tris work harder and this is the biggest muscle in the arms!
Target: Major Pectorals
Benefit: Enables you to press the most weight and puts less strain on shoulders
It’s AKA suicide grip because it is considered to be the most dangerous. Although in my 15+ years of training I have never seen anything go wrong with myself, or anyone else, when using the false/suicide grip approach. The grip allows you to keep your elbows under the bar and takes strain off of the hands and wrists. Imagine that you don’t have hands and that you are pressing the bar using the bottoms of your radius and ulna bones (forearm bones). Wrap your palms, fingers and thumbs around the same side of the bar and use a spotter. You can push the most weight when using this technique.
I’m on a bulking cycle now, so I figured I share some of my foundation moves for quickly adding muscle mass.
You should know already that adding mass to your total physique is done best by focusing on the biggest muscle groups – legs, lats, shoulders and chest.
Clean & Press
This is an obvious one! Clean & Press is a true test of strength and will recruit just about every skeletal muscle in the body for every single rep. I wouldn’t bother doing over six reps per set if you are looking to pack on size. Otherwise you may end up shedding more than bulking. If you don’t already know how to clean & press properly, I recommend getting some guidance from a personal trainer, Crossfit instructor, or experienced power lifter, as it can be fairly dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
Sumo Dead Lift
I’ve chosen the Sumo DL over the standard version, because it is designed to hit hamstrings harder. Glutes and lats are still involved, but the sumo position typically puts less strain on the lower back for most, which might enable you to lift more weight, or complete more reps for a given set.
Nothing will make your legs bigger. Period. If you don’t go ass-to-grass then it’s not a squat. ‘Nuff said. Let’s move on.
Pull Up/Pull Down
Standard. If you aren’t strong enough to do pull ups then use the pull down to work up to it. If you are strong enough then use this as your staple lats exercise. You can strap weights to yourself using a dipping belt, or by holding a dumbbell in between your feet.
Most people would recommend the standard press for shoulders with a bar, or dumbbells, but I’m choosing this one from personal experience and also because of how quickly it can add mass to your shoulders. The movement is similar to the Clean & Press, so the traps and deltoids will both get hit hard. No muscle in the shoulders will go missed with this move – not even rotator cuffs! It can be done sitting, or standing, with dumbbells, or kettle bells.
I’m sure you expected to see bench press here, right? Well, I can’t really argue with anyone for relying on the bench press for size. It is a foundation move and should be included in your chest routine, no doubt, but consider this for a second – performing pullovers during the stages of physical development (women up to 21 and men up to 25 years old) will expand your rib cage. And what is the result of an expanded rib cage? Bigger shoulders, bigger chest & back, and a smaller waist! What more do you want?!
Make these moves a part of your weekly routines and you will be packing on size in no time! If you have further trouble then it’s either down to your diet, or your stomach’s ability to absorb the nutrients from your food. I’ll be sure to blog about those issues soon.
We all know serotonin as the happy hormone in the brain, but not many know how it can effect us as far as our physiques are concerned.
Low levels of serotonin can result in the following symptoms:
– craving fatty foods, especially fried, and stodgy carbs such as chips, crisps and potatoes
– feeling anxious and/or worried
– lack of motivation
– struggling to get out of bed once awake
– pain sensitivity
After looking at the symptoms, it is easy to understand how serotonin deficiency can effect your lifestyle in a way that will thwart your performance on more levels than just the gym alone.
Fixing the problem is down to nutrition (as always lol). There is an amino acid called l-tryptophan that is responsible for synthesising serotonin. Food sources are highly unreliable nowadays, so supplements are definitely your best option. Go with 1g of pure tryptophan before bed and the problems should cease. If you chose to go with food sources, good luck, and be sure to eat plenty of red meat, fish, poultry, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried dates, and spirulina.
For extensive research about serotonin and tryptophan you can check out this article:
Lentils are healthy as hell, but because of their dryness they are somewhat lacking in the taste department. Initially, I had a tough time getting them down, so I experimented different ways to make them more tasty. Check out my recipe for lentil curry below. I usually have them for breakfast with my eggs and bacon, or for dinner as a side.
Here are 6 reasons why you should add lentils to your diet:
1) The soluble fiber in lentils lowers blood cholesterol.
2) 26% of lentil’s calories consist of protein. This is a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
3) There are 1.29g of leucine in 1 cup of lentils. Leucine is one of the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) found in protein and it is hard to find from most protein sources. It switches on the muscle-building pathway for protein synthesis and increases muscle growth.
4) Great source of folate and magnesium, which helps lower levels of homocysteine helping to prevent heart disease.
5) The soluble fiber in lentils helps trap carbohydrates and reduces effects of insulin. This is great for diabetics.
6) The complex carbs in lentils increase levels of slow-burning energy. This will give you more energy with less hunger throughout the day.
LENTIL CURRY RECIPE (cooks in 15-20 mins)
Chorizo & Lentil Curry
1 whole onion, diced
3 diced garlic cloves
2 1/2 tblspns of curry powder
1 tblspn oregano
1/2 tblspn thyme
1 tblspn coriander
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tblspn pepper
2 1/2 tblspns of oyster sauce
3 cans of lentils
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 diced chorizo sausage
Fry onions and garlic in a sauce pan over med-high heat until onions go translucent. Add chorizo until cooked through and then add tomatoes, oregano, thyme, coriander, curry powder, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to med-low and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Mix in lentils, cover and cook for 5 minutes (be sure to give it a couple of stirs!).
Tay Gabbidon – Personal Trainer & Nutrition Therapist – Oxford, England
Zinc has a lot to do with hormone production. Mainly, it is responsible for quickly releasing testosterone, producing natural GH and increases protein synthesis especially through IGF-1 (insulin growth-like factor 1). 2) Supports male & female fertility
In males, zinc supports the prostate, which can eventually become a problem for men, by helping to produce enough testosterone to keep it working properly. In women it supports healthy egg production and keeps excess oestrogen (that will increase body fat storage) in check.
3) Increase immunity
Zinc increases T cell production. T cells fight off dangerous bacteria, viruses, etc.
4) Natural antioxidant
Zinc counters the effects of high iron levels and fights off free radicals, which do damage to the cells of the body.
5) Increase in cardio health
Helps to maintain healthy endothelium (cells that line the blood vessels) which have a lot to do with circulation. Adequate levels of will help prevent unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Many more benefits exist.
For best results take at least 50mg of zinc per day and, yes, ignore the bullshit recommendation of 15mg per day.